Middle Temple

Middle Temple
Part of Middle Temple c.1830 as drawn by Thomas Shepherd. The great hall is beneath the cupola.
Middle Temple Library, 1892, by Herbert Railton
Fountain Court, at the heart of Middle Temple
Combined coat of arms of the four Inns of Court. The Middle Temple's arms are at top right
A modern day view of Middle Temple

The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, commonly known as Middle Temple, is one of the four Inns of Court exclusively entitled to call their members to the English Bar as barristers; the others being the Inner Temple, Gray's Inn and Lincoln's Inn. It is located in the wider Temple area of London, near the Royal Courts of Justice, and within the City of London.



In the 13th century, the Inns of Court originated as hostels and schools for student lawyers. The Middle Temple is the western part of "The Temple", the headquarters of the Knights Templar until they were dissolved in 1312; the awe-inspiring Temple Church still stands as a "peculiar" (extra-diocesan) church of the Inner and Middle Temples. There has never been an "Outer Temple", apart from a Victorian-era office block of that name: an order of 1337 mentions the "lane through the middle of the Court of the Temple", used by chancery justices and clerks on their way to Westminster, which became known as Middle Temple Lane and probably gave its name to the Inn.[1]

The Inns stopped being responsible for legal education in 1852, although they continue to provide training in areas such as advocacy and ethics for students, pupil barristers and newly-qualified barristers. Most of the Inn is occupied by barristers' offices, known as "chambers". One of the Middle Temple's main functions now is to provide education and support for new members to the profession. This is done through advocacy training, the provision of scholarships (£1 million in 2005), subsidised accommodation both in the Temple and in Clapham,[2] and by providing events where junior members may meet their more senior colleagues for help and advice.

The Inn

Middle Temple Hall is at the heart of the Inn, and the Inn's student members are required to attend a minimum of 12 qualifying sessions there. Qualifying sessions, formerly known as "dinners", combine collegiate and educational elements and will usually combine a dinner or reception with lectures, debates, mooting, or musical performances. Middle Temple Hall is also a popular venue for banqueting, weddings, receptions and parties. In recent years it has become a much-used film location—the cobbled streets, historic buildings and gas lighting give it a unique atmosphere. Shakespeare's Twelfth Night received its first recorded performance here, at the feast Candlemas in 1602.[3]

Middle Temple Library possesses Emery Molyneux's terrestrial and celestial globes, which are of particular historical cartographical value.


Middle Temple (and the neighbouring Inner Temple) is also one of the few remaining liberties, an old name for a geographic division. It is an independent extra-parochial area,[4] historically not governed by the City of London Corporation[5] (and is today regarded as a local authority for most purposes[6]) and equally outside the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Bishop of London. It geographically falls within the boundaries and liberties of the City, but can be thought of as an independent enclave.

Some of the Inn's buildings (those along Essex Street, Devereux Court and the Queen Elizabeth Building near the Embankment) lie just outside the liberty of the Middle Temple and the City's boundary, and are in the City of Westminster. Quadrant House (7-15 Fleet Street) was acquired by the Middle Temple in 1999 and after five years of conversion is now a barristers' chambers.[7] This lies outside the liberty (though immediately adjacent to it) but is within the City of London.

See also

  • List of members of Middle Temple


  1. ^ Staff writer (2008). "The Middle Temple". The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple. http://www.middletemple.org.uk/the_inn/History_of_the_Inn/The_Middle_Temple.html. Retrieved 2009-07-11. 
  2. ^ Middle Temple accommodation for students (accessed 26 April 2007)
  3. ^ Staff. "Middle Temple Hall". The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple. http://www.middletemple.org.uk/the_inn/History_of_the_Inn/Middle_Temple_Hall.html. Retrieved 2008-10-18. [dead link]
  4. ^ Association for Geographic Information What place is that then? (PDF)
  5. ^ City of London (Approved Premises for Marriage) Act 1996 "By ancient custom the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple and the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple exercise powers within the areas of the Inner Temple and the Middle Temple respectively ('the Temples') concerning (inter alia) the regulation and governance of the Temples"
  6. ^ Middle Temple as a local authority
  7. ^ Building talk Major £12m Fleet Street refurbishment (2005)

External links

Coordinates: 51°30′45″N 0°06′43″W / 51.5125°N 0.112°W / 51.5125; -0.112

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Middle Temple — Hall 1830 (Zeichnung von Thomas H. Shepherd) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Middle Temple — Temple Tem ple, n. [AS. tempel, from L. templum a space marked out, sanctuary, temple; cf. Gr. ? a piece of land marked off, land dedicated to a god: cf. F. t[ e]mple, from the Latin. Cf. {Contemplate}.] 1. A place or edifice dedicated to the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Middle Temple — See barrister. Collins dictionary of law. W. J. Stewart. 2001 …   Law dictionary

  • Middle Temple — INNS OF COURT n …   English World dictionary

  • Middle Temple — Armoiries combinant celles des quatre Inns of Court. Celles du Middle Temple constituent le 2e quartier, en haut à droite …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Middle Temple — Escudo combinado de los cuatro Inns of Court. El escudo del Middle Temple está en el cuadrante superior izquierdo El Middle Temple (oficialmente llamado en inglés The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple), es uno de los cuatro Inns of Court,… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Middle Temple —    One of the Inns of Court (q.v.).    On the western side of the Temple precincts, to the west of Middle Temple Lane (P.O. Directory).    The Gate house was repaired by Sir Amias Paulet, temp. H. VIII. (S. 404).    Buildings more numerous at… …   Dictionary of London

  • Middle Temple — 1. See under Inns of Court (def. 1). 2. See under temple1 (def. 10). [1595 1605] * * * Middle Temple, one of the Inns of Court in London …   Useful english dictionary

  • Middle Temple — Middle Tem|ple, the a London organization of law students and ↑barristers and the buildings they use, which is one of the four Inns of Court …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Middle Temple Hall —    On the west side of Middle Temple Lane, within the Temple precincts (P.O. Directory). Great Hall new built 1572 (S. 404).    One of the largest and most magnificent in England (Strype. ed. 1755, I. 751).    Contains beautiful carved oak screen …   Dictionary of London

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